Presentation of Self in E-veryday Life: How People Labelled with Intellectual Disability Manage Identity as They Engage the Blogosphere

MCCLIMENS, Alex and GORDON, Frances (2008). Presentation of Self in E-veryday Life: How People Labelled with Intellectual Disability Manage Identity as They Engage the Blogosphere. Sociological Research Online, 13 (4).

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Link to published version:: 10.5153/sro.1774

Abstract

Very little is known about the online habits of people labelled with intellectual disability. What little information there is focuses more on demographic descriptors rather than any analyses of issues specific to that group. Hence the vast majority of the literature is firmly focused on more generic issues as they affect the general population. Some very few disability dedicated studies, however, have examined homepages maintained by individuals who live with Down syndrome. Here at least is evidence of a field of inquiry that recognises there may be particular aspects of web based communications that deserve special interest. The dynamics of web based communications are fast moving and the relatively static homepage has subsequently given way to Web 2.0 technologies. Here the recent and exponential increase in the popularity of blogging as a means of mass communication has attracted much comment in both popular and specialist quarters. Its ease of use and near universal availability has prompted massive sociological inquiry. But again the profile of people living with intellectual disability is absent from the debate. Our study reports on a project in which adults with intellectual disability were assisted to access the web in general, and the 'blogosphere' in particular. Our focus is on the means and methods by which the participants were able to manage their off and online identities. We look at the language employed, the layouts used and the way the online messages and postings reflected or distorted the actual lived experiences of these proto-bloggers. Notions of authorship and audience also contribute to the debate as these issues raise questions about sense of self, disability as a cultural construct and our ability to negotiate the increasingly important virtual world of the web.

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Centre for Health and Social Care Research
Identification Number: 10.5153/sro.1774
Depositing User: Ann Betterton
Date Deposited: 30 Jul 2010 16:17
Last Modified: 30 Jul 2010 16:17
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/2269

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